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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Patricia Timmons-Goodson (E.D. of N.C.)

Returned to President January 3, 2017

On April 28, 2016, President Obama nominated former Supreme Court of North Carolina Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson: to fill the longest unfilled federal judgeship in the nation. Timmons-Goodson would fill a U.S. Courts declared judicial emergency vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina which has been empty since Dec. 31, 2005. The American Bar Association gave her its highest rating: unanimously Well-Qualified.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) immediately declared that he would block a hearing on the nomination, which was ultimately returned to the President on January 3, 2017.

Sen. Burr previously blocked, without explanation, President Obama’s first nominee for the seat, who Sen. Burr had recommended, despite dozens of published Editorials, Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor urging him to submit the home-state Senator “blue slip” needed to allow a Judiciary Committee hearing.

NC Congressman G. K. Butterfield Applauded Timmons-Goodson’s Nomination, and “Called on Senator Burr to Reconsider his Obstruction of Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson,” as did numerous commentators and Editorial Boards including:

EDITORIAL: Our View: Eastern N.C. deserves a federal judge (Rocky Mount Telegram [NC]

Editorial: Partisan politics run amok (Times-News [Burlington, NC]

EDITORIAL: Our Opinion: A Burr blockade (Greensboro News & Record [NC]

EDITORIAL: The Report Card for May 3 (Asheville Citizen-Times [NC]

EDITORIAL: Our View: Burr plays politics with long-vacant judicial seat (Fayetteville Observer [NC]

EDITORIAL: Sen. Burr blocks federal judge nominee and slows justice in eastern NC (News & Observer [NC]

Sen. Burr's position was in stark contrast to his many fellow Republican Senators who worked with the Obama White House and filled all court vacancies in their states and those who continued to do so throughout 2016:

Republican Senators from 15 States Urge Immediate Action to Fill Their Judicial Vacancies (CO, FL, ID, IN, KS, LA, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WI) (Sept. 13, 2016)
(Republican - Colorado, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, North Dakota, Kentucky, Louisiana, Wisconsin) 09/13/16 
Including all 16 Republican senators with nominees on the Senate Floor. Excerpts and links to Senator statements by state

These Republican Senators Want Their Judicial Nominees Confirmed. Majority Leader McConnell Isn’t Listening. (Medium, 08/04/16)
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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